Drafting With Branco Neirynck

Posted in GRAND PRIX LYON 2015 on November 1, 2015

By Frank Karsten

Branco Neirynck, who would lead the Belgian team at the 2015 World Magic Cup, had already made the Top 8 at two Grand Prix events this year (in Copenhagen and Utrecht). Now he was looking to add a third. At the start of the second draft of the day, he was sitting at an 11-1 record, which meant that he was likely to make it to the Top 8 if he drafted a deck that would be able to win at least two of his next three matches.


Branco Neirynck

Pack 1

Pick Neirynck's Choice Other Relevant Options

1

Akoum Firebird

Retreat to Emeria, Dampening Pulse, Gideon's Reproach, Nettle Drone

2

Halimar Tidecaller

Stonefury, Roil Spout, Kozilek's Channeler, Smite the Monstrous

3

Spell Shrivel

Coralhelm Guide, Transgress the Mind, Ondu Rising

4

Nettle Drone

Murk Strider, Sludge Crawler

5

Tightening Coils

Looming Spires, Oran-Rief Invoker

6

Sheer Drop

Tajuru Warcaller, Valakut Invoker

7

Murk Strider

Makindi Sliderunner, Retreat to Valakut

8

Rush of Ice

Skyline Cascade

9

Oracle of Dust

10

Fortified Rampart

11

Plummet

12

Akoum Stonewaker

13

Blighted Woodland

14

Brilliant Spectrum

Neirynck took the best card out of the first two packs, and then solidified himself in Blue/Red Devoid with Spell Shrivel and Nettle Drone.

Afterward, the red seemed to try up, and he hedged his bets with Sheer Drop (which works well with Halimar Tidecaller) and Fortified Rampart. "I got the Sheer Drop pretty late, and Fortified Rampart is good for the white-blue archetype," Neirynck told me after the draft. "So after the first pack, I could go blue-white, but Akoum Firebird is insane and I had passed a Roil Spout, so if I would have a chance to go for red then I would still do that."

Pack 2

Pick Neirynck's Choice Other Relevant Options

1

Kozilek's Sentinel

Breaker of Armies, Looming Spires, Cloud Manta, Molten Nursery

2

Ulamog's Despoiler

Shatterskull Recruit, Cloud Manta

3

Benthic Infiltrator

Stonefury, Nettle Drone

4

Kozilek's Sentinel

Titan's Presence, Molten Nursery, Looming Spires

5

Herald of Kozilek

Nettle Drone, Benthic Infiltrator

6

Ondu Champion

Firemantle Mage, Reckless Cohort

7

Belligerent Whiptail

Roilmage's Trick

8

Vestige of Emrakul

9

Molten Nursery

10

Hedron Blade

11

Salvage Drone

12

Eldrazi Devastator

13

Swarm Surge

14

Dutiful Return

Neirynck opened a relatively empty booster with Kozilek's Sentinel, which could potentially push him back toward red.

His third pick was a tough one. "I was still not 100% sure I would go red," Neirynck said. "In blue-red, I think Nettle Drone and Benthic Infiltrator are close in power level. Nettle Drone is probably a little better, but I already had a Murk Strider as a processor, and there was still a chance I would end up in blue-white, so I took Benthic Infiltrator."

A fourth-pick Kozilek's Sentinel allowed him to commit to red, and then he was presented with a loaded booster. "Herald of Kozilek, Nettle Drone, and Benthic Infiltrator would all be good for my deck. I took Herald of Kozilek, which I like especially if it can ramp into cards like Ruin Processor, but in the end I think my deck would have been better with Nettle Drone instead. This was the only choice from my draft that I regret in hindsight."

While that booster could have been an indication that blue-red was wide open, it was not to be—he only got a Vestige of Emrakul and a bunch of filler cards from the rest of the pack.

At the end of the second pack, Neirynck was solidly in Blue/Red Devoid. He had plenty of creatures but lacked noncreature spells which he would have to prioritize in the last pack. And with two Kozilek's Sentinel, a Nettle Drone, and a Herald of Kozilek, he would have to favor colorless cards as well.

Pack 3

Pick Neirynck's Choice Other Relevant Options

1

Vile Aggregate

Expedition Stomping Ground, Titan's Presence, Tightening Coils

2

Clutch of Currents

Molten Nursery, Valakut Predator

3

Spawning Bed

Valakut Invoker, Coralhelm Guide, Shatterskull Recruit

4

Benthic Infiltrator

Ondu Champion, Boiling Earth

5

Courier Griffin

Serene Steward, Roilmage's Trick

6

Looming Spires

Tajuru Warcaller

7

Boiling Earth

Ondu Champion

8

Blighted Cataract

Eldrazi Devastator

9

Eldrazi Devastator

Blighted Woodland

10

Belligerent Whiptail

Catacomb Sifter

11

Coralhelm Guide

12

Dispel

13

Roilmage's Trick

14

Fertile Thicket

Was Neirynck tempted by the shiny expedition Stomping Ground that he opened? "No," he said. "Vile Aggregate makes my deck so much better."

Fair enough. Unfortunately for Neirynck, his fifth pick and onward were lackluster, so he didn't look thrilled when he sat down at the deck construction table. This was what he built.

Branco Neirynck's blue-red devoid – Grand Prix Lyon 2015 Draft #2

The last cards that Neirynck cut from his deck were Salvage Drone, Boiling Earth, Ondu Champion, and Molten Nursery.

When asked how he liked his chances, he wasn't confident. "My deck is bad because I don't have a lot of evasion or tricks. Just a bunch of ground creatures. I didn't see a single Outnumber or Touch of the Void in the entire draft! I will probably have to draw my Akoum Firebird to win. Or Clutch of Currents plus Halimar Tidecaller. If I do that, then I may be able to get a 2-1 with my deck. Otherwise, it will be tough."

At the time of writing, Neirynck had just won his first match … without drawing the aforementioned cards. A turn-five 9/9 Ulamog's Despoiler did the trick. He now needed just one more win to reach yet another Grand Prix Top 8.

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